OK, back to what I was going to blog about a few days ago...feels like there is a lot going on!
When we decided to try to go to church way out at Petit-Sauvelt Pierre's church (one of my first year students the very first year we started teaching in Haiti) this past Sunday, we didn't know what we would find.
Neither Matt nor I had seen him for a really long time, and it seemed likely that his small little congregation, meeting in a 2-room block school building in what seemed like the far corner of humanity, would have stopped. Just, fizzled out. Quit. Seemed likely that he would have quit.
No money, no glory, a hard village, incredibly impoverished and mostly uneducated people. He had his Bible and Theology degree, but more, an incredibly soft and patient countenance. Sauvelt wasn't afraid to lack, and has had more than his fair share of heartbreak having lost four children.
We didn't even have his phone number, couldn't find anyone who had his phone number, so we decided we would just go. Call it an adventure.
We drove and drove and drove, Matt somehow remembering every palm tree turn, every rice field navigation. As we drove over the dirt path, countless people kept yelling to us, "Where are you going? There is no where to GO!"
And you know what?
We got out of the car at 9:15, and a dozen heads peeked out of the old school to see what in the world a car was doing there, and there he was...running down the dirt path grinning, whooping and hollering his greetings.
There he was. This whole time, every Sunday, all our travels, all our comings and goings, and there he is. Faithful.
As we prayed in that little classroom where he teaches all of the village children five days a week, I was incredibly touched by this. Just that he was there. Still there. He and his wife, Agath, older, but the same. Patient. Soft-spoken. Loving. Preaching the Gospel. And THERE.
There were still only about 40 people in his congregation. There was still no electricity, no pews, no nice building, no parsonage, no salary, no glory. He didn't know we were coming, didn't show up to impress anyone. Petit Sauvelt was there, preaching the Gospel, ministering to his people, talking about sharing the Gospel in the community, reaching out to the children, because THAT is what Petit Sauvelt Pierre believes God has called him to do.
So he does.
This is Petit Sauvelt, Agath, and their only living child, Samuel, now 17.
And this is them, last time we went.
As the service progressed, I was so deeply touched by his FAITHFULNESS. By his perseverance. Persevering, regardless of circumstances, regardless of extreme hardships and struggle. Persevering in Christ, being faithful, being patient. Trusting Him.
Praying with Petit Sauvelt and Agath before we left was such a privilege, and it encouraged their hearts so greatly to be visited and remembered and prayed for that we are now on a mission to go find more alumni and pray for them, praying that we will find them faithful and carrying on.
I know it's so easy to quit. I am fairly confident that I never could have persevered in Sauvelt's mission field. I know after praying for something for 2 weeks, I'm ready to call it "unanswered." I know after struggling for 2 days, I'm ready to call out for mercy.
But Petit Sauvelt's example of simply BEING there and BEING faithful with the attitude of Christ has inspired my heart for today.
We exult in our tribulations,
knowing that tribulations brings about perseverance
and perseverance, proven character
and proven character, hope
and hope does not disappoint
because the love of God has been poured out within our hearts